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Recent Match Report – Gloucestershire vs Hampshire, Twenty20 Cup (England), South Group

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Gloucestershire 144 for 3 (Bracey 64) beat Hampshire 139 for 6 by seven wickets

Gloucestershire overcame Hampshire on a slow, sluggish Bristol wicket to go fourth in the Vitality Blast South Group, thanks to a canny bowling performance and an impressive 64 from James Bracey.

With Rilee Rossouw (ill), Brad Taylor and Mason Crane (both side strains) missing, Hampshire looked light on batting at the toss, and so it proved. After Aneurin Donald‘s eyecatching innings had taken them to 54 for 1 after the powerplay, their innings fell away horribly as Tom Smith found purchase on a turgid pitch, and their seamers used their usual variety of slower balls and cutters.

A target of 140 was never likely to be easy to defend, and after a cautious first four overs of the chase, the fifth broke the back of the chase and meant Gloucestershire could stay in third gear for the remainder.

The beneficiary of those absentees was Ryan Stevenson, the redhead seamer who came in for his first game of the Blast season, but he must have wished he had spent the night in the dugout as usual.

His first ball would have seen Michael Klinger caught behind but for an umpiring error, and things quickly got worse. Klinger chipped a six over midwicket, then got off strike with a three; Stevenson threw in two wides, was smashed for four twice by Bracey, including once off a no-ball, and then had him out caught off the free hit. One last boundary followed, meaning 25 had come off it, and the asking rate shot down to below six.

From that point, Hampshire were toast, as Bracey and Klinger knocked the ball around easily with little pressure on them to score. This was Klinger’s highest T20 score in just under a year – the situation could hardly have suited him better.

This pitch had seen Gloucestershire only squeeze past Kent’s 125 for 8 last week, and from the moment David Payne started to bowl his cutters in the game’s third over, it seemed clear that this pitch would suit their attack.

The conditions could only have been more perfect if they had been able to call upon the services of Benny Howell, who will miss the rest of the season after injuring his hamstring diving in the field against Surrey last week.

As cover, Gloucestershire brought in Zak Chappell on loan from Nottinghamshire, the young fast bowler with a big future and an even bigger reported salary. He struck early to dismiss James Vince – who he gave a roaring send-off – but proved the most expensive bowler on show; perhaps he was overzealous in his efforts to impress after an underwhelming debut season at Trent Bridge.

Hampshire’s selection – while hampered by injury – looked particularly strange when Chris Morris strode out to bat at number five. It was just the 14th time that Morris had batted in the top five in a T20, despite his 180 matches, and he struggled badly to eke out an unbeaten 18 off 24 balls. That they left out Tom Alsop, while having seven bowling options, seemed curious.

This was the sort of surface on which Gloucestershire tend to thrive, and it was apparent that Andrew Tye‘s influence in his several stints as an overseas player has extended beyond just his wickets. Chris Liddle spoke at the interval about the work the club’s seamers do with one another to develop more slower balls and variations, and he, Tye, and Payne went for just 78 from their 12 overs; Ryan Higgins, so impressive in the win at Surrey, never even made it into the attack.

At the interval, it had looked clear that Liam Dawson would be the key man if Hampshire were to come close, but by the time he came on the asking rate had already fallen to 5.46. He was characteristically frugal, but the game was effectively up by the time he had the opportunity to influence it.

Bracey, who has quietly impressed for the best part of three seasons in the Championship, has only recently nailed down a spot in Gloucestershire’s T20 side, but shone with a mature innings in the chase. He was particularly impressive combating the fiery Morris, nailing an early cover drive and pulling him for four in his second spell. He was a recent call-up for the England Lions, and at 22 looks like an old-school batsman with serious promise.

“I’m really pleased with how we’ve come back from a defeat,” he told Sky. “We just wanted to take the initiative with the new ball, which slid onto the bat nicely. It came off for us and made it easier for us at the back end. I’ve started to find my feet in the last few games, so it’s good to play a match-winning knock.”

Gloucestershire’s campaign thus far has been a stop-start affair, with two no-results and a tie in their first four games keeping them in the bunch of teams competing for the quarter-finals. But with three wins in their last four – and a trip to fourth-placed Somerset on Friday night looming – they are now set to be part of the South Group’s qualification narrative.



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Fantasy tips: India v West Indies, 1st T20I

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December 6: India v West Indies, 1st T20I in Hyderabad

NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates

Captain: KL Rahul

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have not played T20s for a while but Rahul has, scoring 313 runs from eight matches (strike rate 155.72) in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Vice captain: Deepak Chahar

Smart bowling in the powerplay means Chahar has gone wicketless only once in his last ten T20 games.

Hot picks

Yuzvendra Chahal
Chahal is three wickets away from being India’s leading wicket-taker in T20Is, and the West Indians aren’t the best players of quality spin bowling.

Virat Kohli
Kohli has six hundreds in his last nine ODI innings against West Indies and averages 45.42 against them in T20Is.

Kieron Pollard
West Indies captain Pollard has played a lot of IPL cricket and has been in good form in T20s in 2019, scoring 1299 runs at a strike rate of 146.94.

NOTE: Nicholas Pooran is serving a ball-tampering ban and is unavailable for the game.

Value for money

Keemo Paul
Paul could be a surprise value pick due to his dual skills and his ability to bowl a lot of cutters and other variations, and did well in Hyderabad in an IPL game earlier this year.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Kumar, back after an injury, is the third best domestic bowler (economy rate 9.45) in the death behind Jasprit Bumrah and Siddarth Kaul in the last three editions of the IPL.

Points to note

  • Based on historical – IPL – data, Hyderabad has two kinds of pitches: one is a slow and difficult to score on, the other is a batting-friendly surface. The average score on the belter was 213 and 146 on the other one. We don’t know which pitch will be used.

  • Since 2018, West Indies batsmen score at a strike rate of 122 against wristspinners in T20Is, and are dismissed once every 18 balls.



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Rachel Trenaman takes leave to focus on mental health

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Rachel Trenaman, the Sydney Thunder and New South Wales allrounder who has been named in the Australia A squad to face India A, has taken time away from the game to focus on her mental health.

Trenaman, 18, played twice for the Thunder during this season’s WBBL and was part of the Australia A one-day squad for the series that will take place in Brisbane next week.

She has now stood down from that series and will be rested from the Women’s National Cricket League which resumes in January.

“We’re proud that Rachel was brave enough to speak up, and we’re here for her,” Dominic Thornely, the NSW Breakers head coach, said. “I know the cricket family is right behind her and we wish her the very best.”

Sydney Thunder’s acting general manager Chris Botherway said Trenaman had the full support of the Thunder, Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia.

“Rachel is a highly thought of young person who has the respect of her team-mates, coaches and support staff at Sydney Thunder and NSW Breakers,” he said. “Player health and well-being will always be our top priority and we will provide Rachel with all the time and support she needs to make a full recovery.”

Trenaman is the latest Australian cricketer to step back from the game for mental health reasons this season. Sophie Molineux, the Melbourne Renegades and Australia allrounder, announced last month that she was taking a break which followed the decisions taken by Glenn Maxwell, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson.

Pucovski and Maddinson returned for Victoria in the last round of Sheffield Shield matches while Maxwell is back in training with Victoria.



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Bob Willis – 1949-2019 | ESPNcricinfo.com

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Bob Willis, legendary England fast bowler, dies aged 70
The former England captain and fast bowler, who will be forever synonymous with England’s 1981 Ashes victory, died on December 4.

Icon, survivor, grandee: Farewell Bob Willis, the man with the longest run
Andrew Miller, ESPNcricinfo’s UK editor, writes a moving tribute in memory of England’s mightiest of fast bowlers.

Tributes: ‘An English legend who inspired a generation of fast bowlers’
Willis’ passing, at the age of 70, had the cricketing world in mourning.

‘That was abject, Charles, absolutely pathetic’ – Bob Willis’ best quips
Willis had developed a reputation for his dry, acerbic and generally scathing verdicts during his punditry career working for Sky Sports.

Podcast: The late, great Bob Willis – Warm, generous … terrifying
Mark Butcher, Andrew Miller and Alan Gardner reflect on cricket’s sad loss, and look back on England’s tour of New Zealand.

The Cricket Monthly: ‘I don’t think odds of 500-1 have appeared since’
How Willis’ bowling England to an incredible Ashes win at Headingley was the culmination of a golden five-year period for him.

Archive: The hero who almost didn’t play
What is less well known about Willis is that he was not even in the original squad picked for the Test.



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